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Kim Jong Un observes father's death anniversary, rejects U.S. talks

By Elizabeth Shim
Kim Jong Un observes father's death anniversary, rejects U.S. talks
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (C) visited the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang, North Korea, in a photo from KCNA published on Tuesday. Photo by KCNA/EPA-EFE

Dec. 17 (UPI) -- Kim Jong Un observed the eighth anniversary of his father's death at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun the same day the regime snubbed U.S. offers of talks at Panmunjom.

Pyongyang's Korean Workers' Party paper Rodong Sinmun reported Tuesday the North Korean leader paid respects to former leader Kim Jong Il and ordered subordinates to carry out the thoughts and ideas of the current leadership.

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Pyongyang's KCTV said Kim was laying out a "majestic new era of self-generating prosperity."

Kim Jong Il died on Dec. 17, 2011, of a "massive heart attack" while traveling by train. His death was not reported until two days later, and his funeral took place on Dec. 28, 2011.

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Following his death, Kim Jong Un was named "The Great Successor." At the time, most North Koreans knew very little about the young leader, despite a few appearances in North Korean media alongside his father.

Reports of Kim Jong Un's visit to Kumsusan came the same day the U.S. top envoy on North Korea Stephen Biegun left the South after offering working-level talks with Pyongyang.

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Biegun was unable to meet with the North Koreans, but the United States offered a meeting at Panmunjom in June by loudspeaker, Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported Tuesday.

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According to the Asahi's Pyongyang correspondent, Biegun used the loudspeaker at the truce village -- the same site where Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump met on June 30.

On Tuesday, Biegun was seen leaving the South in the afternoon, local television network SBS reported.

Earlier on Monday, Trump suggested he would be displeased if North Korea moves forward with serious provocations.

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"We'll see. I'd be disappointed if something would be in the works. And if it is, we'll take care of it," Trump said at the White House. "We're watching it very closely."

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